Mike Castellon will be opposite Ted Booker as an appraiser for St. Joseph County


Penn Township Assessor Mike Castellon will face Ted Booker as Assessor for St. Joseph County in November’s general election.

Castellon was appointed this week by Zach Potts, the county GOP chair, to fill the open election position. At the same time, Potts selected Cherie Defreese, who has served in the Penn Adjudicator’s office for over seven years, to fill Castellon’s November polling spot.

Mike Castellon

Castellon, who has served as Penn assessor since 2011, said he did not decide to run for county assessor until longtime Democratic incumbent Rosemary Mandrici decided not to seek another term.

By the time that happened, it was too late to run in the May primary, Castellon said, adding that he was also considering retirement at the same time.

Potts, who was given authority by the county GOP to fill open ballots, said he was in touch with Castellon about running for the statewide position. Without Mandrici seeking re-election, this is a good opportunity for the party to change position, he said.

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“I also think he’s very well educated in this field, interacts well with the public and knows the area,” Potts said, referring to Castellon.

Ted Booker, an Elkhart County vice president, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary to fill Mandrici’s seat next year. Booker, a former reporter for the South Bend Tribune, has promised to focus on improving the county’s evaluation process should he win the seat.

Real estate appraisals, used to determine real estate taxes, have been an ongoing problem in the county for a number of years, with St. Joseph County ranking among the state’s leaders in terms of the number of appeals filed.

Ted Booker is running as an appraiser for St. Joseph County

With an estimated nine in 10 homeowners facing higher valuations this year, officials expect a large number of appeals again this year.

In 2021, St. Joseph County had 5,986 vocations, just 359 fewer than Marion County (Indianapolis) and significantly more than similar-sized Indiana counties.


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